As Carolina prepares to try to win its first road game of the season, let’s take a closer look at how the offense and defense performs in the red zone under Mack Brown 2.0 or since the 2019 season.

This uses the NCAA’s statistics (stats.ncaa.org) and adds a twist. The NCAA ranks FBS teams by scoring percentage in the red zone. This is one way to measure success, but it ignores the fact that a touchdown is worth more than a field goal.

Because six is greater than three, let’s try to rank Carolina based on points per red zone trip instead of percentage.

This season, the offense is scoring at a slightly lower percentage than the first season under Mack Brown 2.0. The latest version of Carolina is a scoring points per trip a touch higher than 2019.

Last season, Carolina ranked 16th in FBS in points per red zone trip and 23rd in red zone scoring percentage. Javonte Williams on the goal line feels so long ago.

Carolina Offense: Red zone scoring
Carolina has scored on ~88 percent of its red zone trips this season.
Season Trips Scores Scoring % Rank PTs per Trip Rank
2021
11 games
42 37 88.1% 33 4.43 55
2020
12 games
56 50 89.3% 23 4.88 16
2019
13 games
55 49 89.1% 31 4.36 61
@dadgumboxscores | data via stats.ncaa.org

As a comparison, the top red zone offense this season is Oklahoma at 5.2 points per trip. A way to showcase how scoring percentage is misleading is Coastal Carolina. The Beach Chickens rank 28th in red zone scoring percentage (88.6%) and second in red zone points per trip (5.11).

So, what about the Carolina defense?

Opponents have scored on ~83% of red zone trips this season, good for 62nd in the country. The defense has limited opponents to 4.17 points per trip, which ranks 58th out of 130 FBS teams.

Georgia has allowed 2.54 points per red zone trip to lead all FBS teams.

Carolina Defense: Opponent red zone scoring
Opponents have scored on ~83 percent of red zone trips this season.
Season Trips Scores Scoring % Rank PTs per Trip Rank
2021
11 games
46 38 82.6% 62 4.17 58
2020
12 games
46 40 87.0% 93 4.50 79
2019
13 games
44 36 81.8% 54 4.16 44
@dadgumboxscores | data via stats.ncaa.org

These numbers are quite squishy too. The red zone is defined by trips inside the opponent’s 20 yard line. It doesn’t factor in offenses that score before ever reaching the red zone.

The numbers are not adjusted by schedule strength. No accounting for injuries or weather either. As always, there is a lot not accounted for in these numbers.